Are Peas Causing Heart Disease in Dogs?
You probably do everything you can to keep your furry friend healthy. You take your dog to the veterinarian regularly for checkups, go for walks with your pooch, and feed a healthy diet. However, is the food that you are feeding your dog truly safe? Many commercial dog foods contain peas. Can peas cause heart disease in dogs?
Peas and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy
Recently, a study conducted has shown that peas might be linked to canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) which is a fatal heart condition that leads to congestive heart failure (common in medium to large breeds).
The groundbreaking research, which was sponsored by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), suggests that peas could be causing heart disease in dogs. The legume has also been linked to heart disease by the study carried out by Tufts University.
The study states that cardiomyopathy is the second most common heart disease seen in dogs with a prevalence of more than 50 percent in many breeds. Many dogs develop rapid congestive heart failure which causes sudden death, especially in breeds that are predisposed to the diseases such as Dobermans, Great Danes, and cocker spaniels.
Rsearchers compared nine dog foods that have long been associated by the FDA with DCM with nine traditional dog foods. They looked at more than 800 compounds in each of the foods. They compared all of the biochemical compounds in the traditional dog foods with those linked to DCM. It was found that peas came out in the lead spot every time as a compound of concern.
Peas and Lentils
Peas and lentils, which are common fillers in various dog foods, especially grain-free products, appear to contribute to heart problems. Many dog breeds which do not have a genetic predisposition to heart disease such as Bulldogs, Labrador Retrievers, Whippets, Shih Tzus, Golden Retrievers, and mixed breed dogs also developed cardiomyopathy after eating grain-free alternative diets.
If you have concerns about your pet’s food, then you should take the time to read the label of ingredients to determine what is in the food. If you are feeding grain-free food, then you should avoid foods that list peas as the primary ingredient. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact a veterinarian.
Symptoms of DCM
Dogs with cardiomyopathy usually develop an enlarged heart which has a tough time functioning properly. The afflicted heart does not beat properly, and the valves starts to fail and leak which causes a buildup of fluid within the chest. Symptoms include cough, lethargy, and weight loss. The condition causes congestive heart failure which can quickly become fatal. In some cases, if caught early, heart function can be improved with medications.
The authors of the Tuft University study stated, while DCM in dogs is usually a progressive disease with short survival times, multiple studies have shown that dogs with diet-associated DCM have significant echocardiographic improvement and longer survival time after diet change and medical treatment.” If diet is causing your dog’s DCM, then changing the diet immediately can improve the heart’s function and prolong the animal’s life.